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Kung Fu Panda 4 is a sequel that still packs a punch

Kung Fu Panda 4 is a sequel that still packs a punch

Unlike other franchises dragging by the time they get to the fourth movie, Kung Fu Panda 4 serves up some fast-paced panda-monium.

The fourth in the franchise, Kung Fu Panda 4 doesn't panda about.

Starring the original films' Jack Black and James Hong, alongside newcomers Awkwafina, Viola Davis and Bryan Cranston, Kung Fu Panda 4 serves up a witty, buoyant yet poignant fourth film.

Unlike other franchises which tend to drag by the time they get to the fourth movie, the film doesn't feel forced but serves up a fast-paced, perfect panda-monium.

Black returns for the fourth time in the role of unlikely kung fu hero, Po the panda, who's preparing for the next step of his journey.

Despite being known for other iconic films such as School of Rock, Black's dedication to the roly poly panda is clear, being one of the few roles he's returned to. Clear in his vocalisation - which is as masterful as Po is at martial arts - Black's array of non-verbal sounds are a humorous standout.

But will Po fight his destiny or embrace change?

The themes and lessons promoted within the film are apt ones not just for children watching, but any adults grappling with facing new concepts too.

Joining Po on his quest to find out is none other than Zhen the fox, played by Awkwafina. While the actor and musician has previously come under fire for her voice - accused of putting on a 'blaccent' - Awkwafina provides a solid match and balance of energy to Po.

It's also nice to see a stronger female lead rising out of the franchise, further cemented by Davis' voicing of Po's latest opposition - The Chameleon.

Jack Black returns for the fourth time as Po the panda.
Universal Pictures

The Woman King actor's voice is so iconic, it took me a while to settle into seeing her as a small chameleon - her rich, deep and commanding voice not seeming to fit with the small reptile that pops up on screen.

However, it soon becomes very apparent why she possesses the perfect vocal qualities for the job - the chameleon may be small, but she is mighty.

And let's not forget the hilarious dynamic duo of Cranston as Li Shan - Po's biological panda father - and Hong who voices Mr Ping - a Chinese goose with the pair going on a giggle-inducing and heart-warming journey of self-discovery of their own.

However, there is one element of Kung Fu Panda 4 which definitely steals the show.

But, the animators and musicians steal the show.
Universal Pictures

One of the most notable features of the movie is its score, the action is moved masterfully along with music composed by the legendary Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro.

The score is striking and without it - alongside the equally captivating, intricate and beautiful animation by the team at DreamWorks - Kung Fu Panda 4 wouldn't have reached half of the level success that it has.

It may not contain as many intense combat scenes occurring steadily throughout the film as its predecessors, but the speedy pulsation of the score holds viewers' attention, making for an enjoyable and well-timed 1hr 34m.

All in all, Kung Fu Panda 4 is kung fu-ll of family fun with provocative themes of change, destiny, trust and morality. It may be the fourth in the franchise, but the panda still packs a punch - or should I say, kicks butt.

★★★★☆

Kung Fu Panda 4 is out in US cinemas on 8 March and in UK cinemas on 28 March.

Featured Image Credit: Universal

Topics: Animals, Film and TV, Jack Black, Celebrity, World News